LARAMIE, Wyo. Corey Bell started the play in the quarterbacks face.
Then he was on his stomach. And then he was in the end zone, celebrating his first college touchdown.
I honestly dont even remember, he said of how he got the ball. Im just glad that I was able to scoop it.
Bell, a sophomore nickel, returned the fumble 19 yards in the third quarter of a 45-14 win at Wyoming.
I cant wait to see it on tape, coach Chris Petersen said. I think Corey Bell is a very, very good player I love that guy. Hes smart, hes very intense, hes into it and he plays hard. And you see something like that come out on the field.
Bell had a lot of help, too. He blitzed on the third-and-12 play from the Wyoming 43-yard line and quickly disrupted the pocket.
I thought I was going to get a sack, Bell said.
Smith eluded him and Bell got knocked to the ground. Sophomore defensive end Beau Martin made a second run at Smith.
I saw him try to bounce outside, Martin said. I went with him and tried to make sure he didnt get outside.
Martin and senior defensive tackle Darren Koontz corralled Smith and twisted him to the ground. Just before the quarterbacks knee hit, the ball came loose. Martin was credited with the first sack of his career but doesnt know how he forced the fumble.
Im not sure, Martin said, I might have knocked it out.
Wyoming offensive lineman Kyle Magnuson scrambled after the ball, but sophomore defensive end Tyler Horn hit him. That left the ball bouncing to Bell, who got off the ground to chase the play and had nothing but green in front of him.
Im just really glad and grateful for how much time our coaches put into emphasizing that we need to finish every play, Bell said. Everybody on that play was finishing that play. Fortunately I got to score, but it was an 11-man play.
And it was produced largely by two players who got extra playing time because of injuries to starting nickel Dextrell Simmons and backup end Kharyee Marshall earlier in the game.
In practice, we get our snaps, we get our reps, Martin said, so if that does happen Kharyee and Dextrell, we felt horrible for them, because theyre great players but were confident that we can step up where they left off.